Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hiding Isn't Passive When You Are a Ninja - Part II

Part I is here.

Trying to keep from berating herself for being an idiot, she reminded her inner critic that this was the first night the air conditioning had been on in the building. She had not lived there the previous summer and had no way of knowing that the air would cause the paper to rustle like that.

Wanting to blame someone she stirred up some fake righteous indignation against the paperboy. Or man. Or woman. As she made coffee, she imagined calling the paper and demanding that her subscription be canceled and a refund issued immediately. After the first few slugs of coffee entered her system, she realized she probably did not need to add caffeine to the adrenaline.

As she started to see the humor of the situation, her coping mechanism kicked in with a few self-mocking observations. She began to laugh at herself. Maybe she did have every right to be afraid of an unknown noise. But that could not account for her total lack of clarity that caused her to fling the door open with only her wits to defend herself. Considering her witless behavior, she calculated the odds of her intelligence against an attacker and estimated them to be a gazillion to one. She thought no more about it as she went about getting ready for work. On her way to the bus stop, she started to feel the creeping paranoia, but was able to dismiss it immediately because of the lingering embarrassment. Besides the sun was bright enough to shoo away any negative thoughts.

During her twenty minute bus ride, she decided the story was too funny not to share. One of her coworkers an older friend who couldn't help playing mother would be upset. But she was positive she could spin the tale well enough that mocking herself would ease any lectures by showing she realized how stupid she had been. Riding the wave of inspired fact twisting, she got excited as she rehearsed retelling the adventure in her head. It all went according to plan.

She made it sound courageous and idiotic at the same time; everyone was too busy laughing to think much about it. Starting the work day off with a good laugh, made the rest of the day breeze by without incident. At 4:45 the office rustled with the sound of everyone gathering their things in preparation for the coming of 5:00. Giving in to her motherly concern, her coworker asked if her key chain with mace was quickly accessible. She also managed to hint about hanging one next to the door so she would always have a weapon next to the door. Jane said it was a great idea and knew that there would be a can of mace on her desk the next morning that her friend “just happened to come across.” Feeling comfortably warmed by the concern, she headed home again.

The warmth waned as she started thinking about what to prepare for dinner. She enjoyed cooking, but cooking for one was more difficult than cooking for four. Again, she felt a softening to the idea of searching for a mate. It wasn't that she was against dating or marriage. She just didn't want to be someone who went looking for a relationship out of desperation. Determined to not let such a little thing as cooking push her towards a marriage of convenience, she decided on tilapia. She could whip that up in a matter of minutes. She had made the recipe many times and had written out the calculations for a serving of one. Turning the corner onto her street, she felt again like she was being watched. Deciding she had better learn to control her crazy before crazy controlled her; she banished the unwanted thoughts from her consciousness and headed home for a much needed, uneventful evening.

Again waking in a panic to the sound of her newspaper, she laughed at her body's response to something that had already been identified as harmless. Enjoying a personal consideration about the conscious verses unconscious, she was able to get ready in a good mood. At least the adrenaline was good for getting going. She wondered if she could find an alarm clock that would play spooky sounds instead of soothing sounds to recreate the effect every morning. Dismissing it as pointless because invariably she would become used to being scared awake and therefore no longer scared awake, she left for work.

As she approached the creeptastic corner, she decided to own her fear and rename the intersection. Her internal monologue voice switched to a deeper more authoritative sound and decreed to all personalities residing within the boundaries of Jane's physical being that the intersection would now be addressed as the corner where paranoia meets fear. Or CWPMF for short. Trying to decide how that anagram would be pronounced, she forgot she was waiting for the bus and jumped when it pulled up in front of her. Grinning sheepishly at the driver, she showed her bus pass and headed toward her section on the bus.

I have a massive headache today but wanted to post this in hopes that it will pressure me to finish the story. I hope I am not delusional when remembering I have already proof read and edited this.

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